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(Holm Oak / Holly Oak)

Quercus ilex is a variety of evergreen oak, growing to approximately 20-25m in height. Its tolerance of many growing conditions and pollution make it a very versatile plant, often used in urban and coastal settings. Alternatively it can be used for hedging, windbreaks and topiary. Left to grow on its own, it will become a large, structural tree with a rounded crown.

Catkins appear in the Spring, followed by small acorns which will mature the same year. The leaves are dark green and leathery with a whitish underside. Often the lower leaves are spiny, giving a resemblance to the Common Holly, which is also where the name comes from. It is thought that it may have developed this characteristic to prevent grazing by animals.

Native to the Mediterranean region and is often found growing on its own or with Cedrus atlantica in the Moroccan Atlas mountains.

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Plant Profile

Name: Quercus ilex

Common Name: Holm Oak or Holly Oak - Holm is the ancient word for Holly

Family: Fagaceae

Height: 20-25m

Demands: Tolerant of most conditions. Must be well drained soil

Foliage: Leathery, dark green, evergreen leaves with a whitish underside

Bark: Grey bark, smooth when young and becoming fissured with age.

Fruit: Small acorns

Quercus ilex info sheet

FACT: Quercus ilex has been used for many years. The Ancients Greeks held it in high regard, using the leaves to tell the future and make crowns to honour people. The acorns were worn as jewellery as they were a sign of fertility.

The wood is very hard and has a high tannin content which acts as a natural preservative. The Romans used it extensively for tools, carts and wine casks.

Quercus ilex - common name: Holly Oak or Holm Oak

Quercus ilex - leathery green foliage

Quercus ilex or Holly Oak

Quercus ilex - 20-25-30cm standards

Quercus ilex

Fissured bark

Quercus ilex (Holly Oak / Holm Oak)

50-60cm girth standard

Quercus ilex leaves

White underside of foliage

Quercus ilex has become one of the top three trees used for truffle orchards. The acorns are a major food source for the free range pigs which are reared to produce Iberico ham.

Quercus ilex acorns

Quercus ilex acorns

Cone shaped Holly Oak

Cones and feathered plants

Quercus ilex (Holly Oak / Holm Oak)

35-40cm girth standards

Quercus ilex on the move

Quercus ilex in motion!


Deepdale Trees Ltd.,
Tithe Farm, Hatley Road,
Potton, Sandy,
Beds. SG19 2DX.

  01767 26 26 36


Deepdale Trees

Grower of the UK's finest and widest selection of semi mature trees and shrubs.
From our convenient location in the heart of England, we are able to make year round deliveries Europe wide, selecting from over 140 acres of UK production. We are also able to source plants on request through our extensive supply network. Fully plant-passported and therefore able to supply trees throughout the UK and Europe.

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Standard trees, semi-mature trees, multi-stemmed, feathered, topiary and hedging.